[www.inewsguyana.com] – Acknowledging there were issues that caused delays, Coordinator of the Work Services Group (WSG) of the Ministry of Public Works, Geoffrey Vaughn, said the ministry is not satisfied with the pace of construction on the East Bank Demerara four-lane extension. Vaughn said the onus is on the contractors to put in extra hours to ensure the completion of the road.
Speaking to the Government Information Agency (GINA) on Monday, he said, “We know that they had a lot of delays, but still we expected to see a little more in terms of the project management, working double shift, day and night but that did not happen.”
He noted that it is not a case where the ministry can push ‘fully’ to have the contractors work in the night. He explained that it is a contractual obligation, which the government can only propose. It is for the contractor to determine if he or she wants to work in the night, he said.
“If they need to, and they want to, they can work night time, it does not take away anything from the contract, but it is for them to make that call,” he said. The Ministry has to however, ensure that the work is carried out and the contract is completed within the specified time or the penalty clause can be applied, he pointed out.
Funded under Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) loan financing to the tune of US $22M, the upgrading of the two traffic lanes to four, along the East Bank Demerara road from Providence to Diamond is being executed in three lots; Providence to Prospect, Prospect to Little Diamond, and Little Diamond to Diamond Intersection. To date, lot one is approximately 56 percent completed, lot two, is 90 percent completed and lot three, 60 percent completed.
The relocation of the Guyana Telephone and Telegraph (GT&T) utilities continue to be one of the main issues that have posed delays to the projects. The ministry has had several talks with GT&T pertaining to the issue and signed contracts with the utility company toward the removal of the utilities. “Most of it is that they are not too sure that they have cables… so we have to wait until they acquire these things and they have to do designs,” Vaughn said.
He explained that the build-ups are causing extended delays. “When we would have gone into the contract with GT&T, then they would have been pushing to get y, get z, so you find that itself caused some amount of delays, so as much as you want to blame the contactors on one hand in terms of not being able to work effectively and in a faster manner, we still have to look at some of the other issues that we had on the contract,” he said.
Lots 1 and 2 of the project were supposed to be completed by December 31, 2014. Lot One is now extended to March 2015, due to the utility issue. Lot two’s delay is due to rainfall in 2013 and for the reason that the contractor; Dipcon has also recently been suffering from a cash flow problem, which has affected the project negatively.
Lot two, being farthest along will basically be wrapping up very soon. Most persons driving along the East Bank would have realised this, as the area has now been opened up to traffic.
Lot three’s contractor, BK International is expected to complete his part by March 2015, which is the time extended to him for its conclusion. The extension of lot three, like lot two, basically was granted due to delays in the removal of utilities. This lot also suffered from poor organising skills, construction methodology and lack of human resources.
Vaughn explained that BK International has completed some of its road works and a lot of concentration is now on the high bridge, next to Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL). “Once that is completed we know that work will be pushed faster,” he said. [Extracted and modified from GINA]